How to Develop a Lean, Mean Lead-Gen Machine
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About 5 years ago, Rebecca Stone joined LiveRamp and the CEO said “I want you to be as sophisticated as possible in advertising, and how you use it.” At the time, the company had two sales development reps, a funnel that wasn’t necessarily feeding leads properly, and a young tech stack and tons of potential, so Rebecca got to work on the company’s digital transformation.
Now, the company has a tech stack built from roughly 40 different tools, broken into different operating nodes, a marketing team that supports 20 sales development reps, an in-house data lake, and data analytics models that can accurately predict how marketing spend will translate to revenue—a sort of holy grail for marketing analytics.
On this episode, Rebecca shares her journey at LiveRamp, a platform that helps brands get personalized ads in front of users across the web, and how she helped build the well-oiled marketing machine that her department has become.
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Full Transcript: Drew Neisser in conversation with Rebecca Stone
Drew Neisser: Hey it’s Drew and I’m excited we’re doing another live podcast recording and video recording so if you see me turning my head back and forth—I’m looking at the camera, I’m looking at the thing—it’s all good. I’m here with Rebecca Stone, who is the head of marketing for LiveRamp.
Rebecca Stone: That’s correct. Hi Drew
Drew Neisser: Hi. Welcome to Renegade Thinkers Unite.
Rebecca Stone: I am excited to be here.
Drew Neisser: Well also you’re not from around here as they say!
Rebecca Stone: I am not. I originally, I have to say, I grew up in New Jersey.
Drew Neisser: Okay, I kind of hear the accent. It’s in there!
Rebecca Stone: It’ll come out every time I say horrible for sure but I currently live in the San Francisco Bay area and work downtown in the city.
Drew Neisser: And you went to college in…?
Rebecca Stone: I went to UC Santa Barbara.
Drew Neisser: Right.
Rebecca Stone: Yeah. A beautiful place to go to college.
Drew Neisser: It is. So when I was in high school—because I grew up in California—we did a leadership camp at UCSB and my fondest memory was playing volleyball on the beach but we got oil on our feet, they had the little—
Rebecca Stone: Alcohol wipes! You get to be real friends with alcohol wipes.
Drew Neisser: Yeah, I thought it was the coolest thing because there is… The campus is really literally on the beach.
Rebecca Stone: It is literally—our dorms and everything have ocean views if you get really lucky, so it is a very amazing place.
Drew Neisser: I don’t know how you do any work though.
Rebecca Stone: I managed to get out in three years.
Drew Neisser: Wow! That’s impressive.
Rebecca Stone: It was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made in my life.
Drew Neisser: I know, I don’t understand the people who are in a rush to get through school.
Rebecca Stone: I counsel anybody who asks from now on, don’t ever graduate earlier if you don’t have to.
Drew Neisser: Yeah. Although I was thinking, I was at a Duke event last night, and I was thinking about various conversations that were happening and realized, “You know, I should have taken a gap year.”
Rebecca Stone: Yeah. I think a gap year is fine. And I would be okay with a gap year if I had done that but I went right into work, right into the world of B2B marketing, which was a huge mistake like I said.
Drew Neisser: There ya go. So you’ve been in marketing since you graduated. And what would you say—and this is a tricky question, but this is Renegade Thinkers Unite— is the most renegade thing you’ve done in your career?
Rebecca Stone: I think probably the most renegade thing was, I was working at a telecom equipment manufacturer. At the time, I was head of marketing there and started a social media presence for that company at a time when no real B2B was doing anything in social media.
It ended up taking off hugely. It was around an education program, so it was really similar to this. We had podcasts, we had blogs, we had a website, we had a Twitter feed. And it ended up that the result of that was that our customers got a huge chunk of money from the government and got so much from the government that our biggest competitor ended up buying us and pointed to the ability of us to drive business through that as one of the key reasons that they purchased us.
Drew Neisser: Right, so you were on the early wave of social when you could actually really use it to drive business.
Rebecca Stone: Very early and yes, and there was not a lot of competition. You didn’t have to worry about it. It was right at that sweet spot time.
Drew Neisser: When there was such a thing as organic reach.
Rebecca Stone: Exactly. Yep.
Drew Neisser: So early adopter—that’s a cool story. Let’s see… do you have a marketing superpower by chance?
Rebecca Stone: Oh geez. I would say that probably my ability to get into the minds of the customer. Whether they be somebody who’s buying telecom equipment or a fellow marketer at a B2C company, I’ve been able throughout my career to really embrace getting into that mind and I think that is what makes for a really effective marketing—if you can understand your customer and create content and create campaigns and stories that really appeal to what they care about. And their pain points and what they want to do.
Drew Neisser: When we were talking earlier you mentioned listening to the Brent Adamson episode that you just did and on that episode, he mentions that, gosh, there may be ten people in a B2B buying decision. So getting to know the customer today is a lot different. There’s a CFO and CIO and a CISO and all this other stuff—in your world there must be multiple targets.
Rebecca Stone: Absolutely, so the company I work for right now, LiveRamp, is really focused on marketers and specifically digital marketers, but that includes an entire buying committee that is probably three or four digital marketers, maybe a CMO, but also privacy and legal and all of those other teams that are really more worried about the safety of the data that they have and that they are protecting.
What has been really interesting is that you’re not just selling a product that does something for a marketer, you also have to convince a bunch of very, very smart people about why our product is the best and the safest. There are a lot of different directions that that has to go and a lot of content and a lot of education for our sales team that we have to do.
Drew Neisser: Here’s the challenge for you: LiveRamp in six words or less.
Rebecca Stone: We are a technology that connects data from the enterprise side to the digital. I think that was maybe 10.
Drew Neisser: I found a number of things that described in the category. I saw “identity platform,” “identity resolution provider,” “data management platform.” Sort those out for the listener so we get a sense—because when you start to talk about identity, I think you get closer to really what your competitive advantage is.
Rebecca Stone: Yeah. When you think about the data that an enterprise marketer has—so it can be buying data from in-store or online. They have email addresses, they have all of that information that identifies us as a person and a buyer and somebody who is interested in a product.
And then you have the digital side, which, if you’re a digital marketer, you fully understand is much more hard to pin down. There are things like cookies and mobile IDs and things that are hard to target as an individual. What we do is we just connect the known person to those anonymous identifiers in a way that’s privacy safe to be able to market to them no matter where they are.
Drew Neisser: First-party data.
Rebecca Stone: Yep.
Drew Neisser: And essentially…we can’t call it even third-party data, sort of just digital footprint.
Rebecca Stone: Yep, exactly.
Drew Neisser: And suddenly I go from anonymous person on the web to Drew who’s bought this thing and we have this e-mail. That’s an interesting and sort of very important—so once that data is found, we’ve identified this person, what are we trying to do? We’re trying to expose an ad to them? What happens at that point? Why bother doing this?
Rebecca Stone: I think the best way to do it is to give you an example. Let’s imagine you’re Gap and I use Gap because I’m a regular buyer at Gap but I only buy in-store and I buy for my kids.
Gap has my information from my credit card swipe. I don’t really go to their website, so they haven’t cookied me, they don’t have my email address because I haven’t inputted it and give it given it to them. But I’m a pretty regular buyer.
What is frustrating to me as a buyer is that they have probably a quarterly sale that targets their best loyal customers—friends and family discount or whatever. That friends-and-family discount, I never get any alerts that it’s coming, and I always end up finding out like the day after the sale is done.
What Gap can do now is they know that I am a buyer. They know my name. They know my address because I’ve swiped my credit card. They can upload that data into LiveRamp and LiveRamp will identify me online via cookies and things to be able to place an ad and say, “Hey, don’t forget, the friends and family discount is coming in two weeks. Come into the store and buy.” So that’s how they do it.
Drew Neisser: Which you wouldn’t find creepy, you would find helpful.
Rebecca Stone: I would. And that’s the whole point, to do it in a way that Gap—the reason we’re kind of this independent third party is Gap doesn’t get any of that information about the digital footprint and the digital websites don’t get any information from Gap about who their actual customer is. We’re sort of this independent third party that connects the data without the two sides being able to keep that information for themselves.
Drew Neisser: So Gap is giving you first-party data, you’re finding this individual out there, and then you match it—and said this is all I can microseconds, nanoseconds—and then boom. Is there like an inventory? Does this work the same way like programmatic? There’s an inventory of ads that are designed that’s just right for you, or is this like massive personalization?
Rebecca Stone: Yeah, it’s both. What we do is we distribute it to the end—let’s say the DSP, which is where you’re buying your programmatic ads from, or a personalization engine or whatever is in your tech stack that you’re already working with. We connect to those and we send that information in the form of an ID to those different companies to do all of those things that you just listed and a few more things.
And then that in turn gets turned around and given back to us in terms of IDs that we can measure against. And that gets sent back to the customer with the first-party data so that they can then measure that information against their results.
Drew Neisser: As we wrap up this little section, the end-users of this it sounds like retail is ideal. Somebody is selling something physical whether it’s brick and mortar or both, which today is everybody. The end-user is B2C but your customer is B2B.
Rebecca Stone: Absolutely. I sell to B2B and typically it’s a B2C buyer. But we are moving now—we have a bunch of companies that are starting to adopt us on the B2B side as well.
Drew Neisser: That I want to talk about. We’ll be right back. Stay with us
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Drew Neisser: We’re back. And my guest is Rebecca Stone, the head of marketing for LiveRamp. We’ve been talking at a very technical level about how you can use first-party data to identify someone online, allow—as you said—Gap to suddenly say, “Hey, it’s Drew; he likes sales because he’s a cheap kind of guy and he wants to buy his jeans this day, so there’s a jean ad in his size ready to go at the store where he lives.” Done. There’s a B2B side to this. Let’s talk about that.
Rebecca Stone: There is. All right. Like I said, from a B2C side, it’s anybody. It can be retail, it could be auto, it could be hospitality—you know, hotels or airlines.
On the B2B side, what is ideal about what we do is that we allow a B2B company to target a very specific list. Typically, on the B2B side it’s not like B2C where you’re 90 percent of the time spraying and praying because everybody could potentially buy your product. You have to hit a very small target list of customers.
Drew Neisser: Immediately what I’m thinking about is Facebook’s ability to take an e-mail list and hash against it and then advertise against a group—custom audience is what they call it. Is that what you’re talking about?
Rebecca Stone: That is exactly what I’m talking about.
Drew Neisser: So you have that same ability…
Rebecca Stone: Yep. But we do it on the open web. So if you think about what Facebook does within the Facebook “walled garden,” we can reach everybody across the web. So, any publisher that has a website that has advertising on it, we’re able to do that same custom audience type thing but across all of those other websites as well.
Drew Neisser: So, for example, I have a list of 4000 B2B marketers in the United States and they’ve opted in so it’s a nice clean list. I could then—in theory, it’s probably not big enough—but then use your service to serve ads somehow magically to those people.
Rebecca Stone: Exactly. Exactly.
Drew Neisser: That’s cool.
Rebecca Stone: Yeah.
Drew Neisser: Now from a B2B standpoint, advertising is very tricky. Because a lot of the companies that we work with and I’m sure that you were talking about have a long sales cycle, and all of these folks will say ads are the least significant part of this process. We know that that’s not true but that’s what they’ll say.
And, because the sales cycle is so long, how do you show these B2B marketers that this is actually an important part of—we’ll call it top of the funnel for lack of a better—but this is an important part of getting in the consideration set?
Rebecca Stone: Yep. And I think the easiest way to do it is that we do it ourselves. We are adopters of our own technology and we are heavily invested because we are in ad-tech. One of the things that, when I first started five years ago at the company, our CEO said was: “I really want you to be as sophisticated as possible in advertising and think about how you use it from your own marketing.” Really for the last five years, I have gotten extremely knowledgeable from a firsthand perspective about what’s important to B2B advertising and how you can show that it affects over time the impact you have on the business.
Drew Neisser: So, on this show, we’ve had the expression “Drink your own champagne…”
Rebecca Stone: “Eat your own dog food…”
Drew Neisser: “Eat at your own table because people don’t like the dog food…” Do you have one of your own?
Rebecca Stone: Yeah. “Drink your own champagne” is definitely ours.
Drew Neisser: I wish we had some champagne here because that—I’ve done that on a show way back when.
Rebecca Stone: You should do it on every show.
Drew Neisser: I know. I really should. When we did it, it was really fun. It was with the Norwegian Cruise Lines and they were christening a new ship and they were docked over there and we were sitting in this wonderful lounge and having champagne. It was a wonderful conversation. It was fun. It was really fun. Not that this isn’t fun.
All right. So, in drinking your own champagne, let’s talk about that. Break it down. How do you start with it? You make the target; how do you get the list?
Rebecca Stone: We have a pretty extended and overarching program that’s for advertising, but when it comes specifically to targeted lists, I think a really good example is one that we just did recently. We have a series of events that are separately branded from LiveRamp that are called RampUp and RampUp events have two tentpole events, one in San Francisco that just happened. That’s our biggest. It’s about 3500 people. And then one in New York that’s about 1500 people. And then we have a series of what’s called RampUp on the Roads throughout the year that go to various cities throughout the country and the world.
In our most recent RampUp, which was San Francisco—that just happened about three or four weeks ago—we have a target list of attendees who have gone in the past and who also had not registered for this year’s event. We really wanted to target them.
To your point, that list wasn’t big enough, so what we also did was we did a few data buys via the LiveRamp platform to add on to people who looked like that who also hadn’t registered—a lookalike campaign—as well as people who were our ideal prospects and targets but we had never been able to contact or connect with.
With that we had, I want to say probably 50,000 to 100,000 on that list it ended up being. We were able to, using that campaign and using that process, increase our click-through and ultimately our registrations from that original target list that we were really trying to get to re-engage by about 25 percent.
And then we also had the added benefit of all of those additional who we had a 30 percent lift, I want to say—I should know the numbers better, but about 30 percent lift in terms of who we were able to get registered that was new from those ad campaigns.
Drew Neisser: So, net new, got them to the event. And those that didn’t get to the event that were new probably got your…
Rebecca Stone: Exactly, and I think one of the great things is the sales development team reports to me. So, they’re responsible for driving registrations and driving follow-ups from both registrations who are no shows and attendees, and what they found was that even people who didn’t register and didn’t attend were able to actually book meetings with people out from outreach, from some of the things that we did.
And it was really from keeping us and the name top of mind so that when an SDR was sending an e-mail to them or giving them a call, it felt more warm and more recognizable than if we hadn’t done it at all.
Drew Neisser: Sales Development Rep is an SDR.
Rebecca Stone: Sorry, I should have said that.
Drew Neisser: No, it’s okay! Just not everybody speaks the lingo. That’s amazing and it does speak to the fact that people want to do business with, one, people they like but also that they know. “If I haven’t heard of you”. So, this notion of using advertising as a way of building awareness. But those folks had sort of moved through something because they had registered but they didn’t show up.
Rebecca Stone: No, it was people who didn’t do either of those things. There was a cold SDR outreach after advertising and they were able to book more meetings with them than with our non-touched list.
Drew Neisser: Wait…so advertising works!?
Rebecca Stone: Yes! And it’s from exactly what you said—it’s a classic branding exercise. You just have to have people understand and recognize your name.
Drew Neisser: From a story standpoint—because that all sounds very technical—was there anything from a creative or messaging standpoint that you think helped that?
Rebecca Stone: In these particular campaigns, I think it was very much about just straight, “Hey, register for this event and what is the benefit that you’re going to get,” but I have tons of stories about where story is important and how it plays an impact in terms of your campaigns.
I think that’s more, to what we’ve talked about a little bit earlier in terms of our buying committees, you really have to have strong stories in order to be able to get them all on board. And we have quite a few examples of where—we have stories that integrate marketing and our sales development and then our sales team at the end of it to be able to take people through that customer journey path is as equally important as just that straight acquisition and targeting campaign.
Drew Neisser: Perfect place to take a break because I always want to talk about story, so we’ll be right back
Drew Neisser: You’ve been listening to another great interview on Renegade Thinkers Unite with Drew Neisser. But the value doesn’t end there. As a listener, you can download a free e-book from Drew “Renegade Thinkers: Interviews with 11 Trailblazing CMOs Any Business Can Learn From” Top marketing thought leaders and proven executives from Time Warner, American Express, and Chico’s, and others.
Drew Neisser: We’re back. And my guest is Rebecca Stone from LiveRamp who has just stated for the record that advertising works, which is good because that’s essentially what your platform enables but on a highly personalized basis. It’s almost like you could, if you had that real-time ability, you could say, “Hey Drew, there’s a sale at Gap. We know you love these kinds of tees.” You probably wouldn’t want to do that.
Rebecca Stone: Yeah, that might be a little creepy…
Drew Neisser: Yeah, it’s a little creepy. So we were talking about, for the events, you were able to get people to attend and use this advertising to get increased attendance, but also just the ability to raise awareness ended up helping you. Those people became leads. And then your SDRs converted some percentage of those so you could show there was an ROI on this particular investment.
Rebecca Stone: Absolutely.
Drew Neisser: Let’s step back. That all feels a very rational and technology-driven kind of a thing. Let’s talk about story. You mentioned it. What is the brand story for LiveRamp? Is there a broad story? Big story?
Rebecca Stone: In terms of what we tell to our customers? Or in general for LiveRamp?
Drew Neisser: In general.
Rebecca Stone: We’re actually going through an exercise to define that right now. Our general broad story though is about making data accessible and meaningful. I think maybe I’ll come back in six months or so and let you know what the narrative is and how successful that new narrative has been.
Drew Neisser: Just for the record, for the listeners, I know a great agency that does that kind of work.
Rebecca Stone: I’m sure you do. [Laughter]
Drew Neisser: All right. You mentioned that you had used stories, so talk a little bit about what you mean and give an example.
Rebecca Stone: Yes, so we’ve talked a little bit about how, in the B2B world, the buying cycle is typically very long. For us, we have tracked that from very first touchpoint to basically the first buy and first purchase from us is anywhere from 18 to 24 months.
Drew Neisser: Wow.
Rebecca Stone: It’s very long. It’s marketing, they have to move slow, there’s a lot of people involved, so there are a lot of touchpoints that we have to get through in that 18 to 24 months in order to be able to get them to the point where they buy.
And there is a lot of education at the start in that awareness stage—just education about what we do, how we do it, how we can make your marketing better, and then moving through to why is this the right way to do it, all the way to you know actually execution. Now I’ve decided to do this, how do I execute and make it happen?
We have really created about five personas that we target very specifically throughout that whole process with a variety of touchpoints on that customer journey to address more of their pain points and what they need.
In that first phase, we almost don’t talk about LiveRamp as much. It’s much more about pain points that the customer has and things that other marketers are doing to address similar pain points. Then we move into much more education about LiveRamp process and then into a “Hey, now that you’ve now that you’ve decided on LiveRamp, here are some of those really core use cases that we talked about early on and you take those steps to move through that cycle yourself and become one of those people that everybody wants to be.”
Drew Neisser: So, the 18 to 24 months, I’m just thinking of all the complications that that creates. Turnover of people on your side, on their side. Now, the buyer—I noticed on the website there are agencies and there’s client-side. Who’s the primary from your standpoint?
Rebecca Stone: I consider the brand marketer our primary buyer because everybody else who we sell to, whether it be an agency or a marketing tech platform or whomever, they’re ultimately trying to sell to them to the marketer as well. It really comes down to the brand marketer. And specifically on the digital side for today, we also are starting to move into measurement and analytics as a core component of our buyer. But those are really the ones who are interested.
And that could be anybody from a senior leader, maybe a VP of Digital who reports into a CMO, all the way down to maybe a media buyer who’s just buying advertising for particular campaigns.
Drew Neisser: I want to go back a little bit. Your CEO gave you the mandate to be as technically advanced as you could be. How big is your tech stack?
Rebecca Stone: Yeah, it’s a lot. There are probably about 30 or 40 total different… And it’s segmented into the core Marketo and Salesforce. And then we have a digital tech stack, we have a measurement tech stack. There are three or four nodes I guess is what I would say, and you also have to remember I have the SDRs under me, so there’s a big tech component to supporting that sales development team.
Drew Neisser: So all of things like—the lead feeder type things and identifying people and matching it up.
Rebecca Stone: Exactly. That’s why it’s a little bit bigger than what you would normally expect from a marketing team just because we do have that team under me.
Drew Neisser: So, to have 30 to 40—I had Megan Eisenberg [on the podcast], who was at Mongo DB, she had 28 and counting. She had sunsetted 7, so they maxed out at 35. How many people does it take to manage all of those technologies?
Rebecca Stone: We have three core marketing ops team members, so not too many. I think we could probably use one or two more I think eventually, but we also have a sales op team that sits outside of our team that helps to support some of the sales development components of that tech stack and who manage almost all of Salesforce.
And then we also have two to three people who are day-to-day users who are Marketo-certified and who are certified in a couple of our other programs to be able to move through them that are what I would say are the power users. Not necessarily marketing ops, but they can get into those particular platforms and be able to rejigger things almost as well as the marketing ops team.
Drew Neisser: With all these technologies, you have lots of numbers.
Rebecca Stone: Yes.
Drew Neisser: And you can’t possibly present all the numbers and maybe you can help solve a problem for me as I’m working on my second book and I’m trying to greatly simplify metrics. I’m trying to find blended metrics that are—revenue is too late. Because by the time you close 18 months later, that’s not going to help you today. I want to know your top three metrics right now to know that you can walk into your CEO and say, “Hey, we’re doing great.”
Rebecca Stone: What we book and what we look at—our core metric, the number one that we are tracked on is pipeline created.
Drew Neisser: Pipeline created.
Rebecca Stone: Yes. So in a quarter, what is that pipeline that has been created. And we know, to your point, revenue is too late, but we know what that process and that flow looks like to get to revenue. We have a number that says, “Hey, we close about 30 to 40 percent of our open pipeline. We need to get X number in our pipeline to be able to know 3, 6 months down the road what we’re going to get.”
Drew Neisser: I want to stop you there because what I’ve seen with that, with pipeline created is, there’s a great deal—this is where sales and marketing sometimes fall apart. The marketer says, “I’ve filled the pipeline.” Sales says, “Well, that’s crap”. That 30 to 40 percent, 18 months later turns out to be 10 percent… How?
Rebecca Stone: Well, it’s 30 to 40 percent of open pipeline closes to revenue generated I wouldn’t say it’s crap because the salesperson—remember, we have the sales development team under us—the sales development team goes through the process of qualifications.
Drew Neisser: So, it’s only consider pipeline if they’re SQLs?
Rebecca Stone: Yes. Open opportunities are what I’m talking about. A salesperson has opened an opportunity based on qualification from a sales development rep.
Drew Neisser: And do you know what percentage of that open opportunity or pipeline is marketing-driven?
Rebecca Stone: Yes. We generate about 60 percent of the overall pipeline.
Drew Neisser: See, this is why you can have a job for a long time.
Rebecca Stone: I’m actually going through that exercise of convincing our CFO about why they should continue to invest heavily in marketing. And what’s great about it is we have about five years of history because I worked there for five years, so we’re able to very, very cleanly track to the point of saying, “Hey, we generate 60 percent of pipeline and that’s going to result in X amount of revenue.”
Drew Neisser: Right. Could you make the case and is it testable that if you doubled the sales, you could double the pipeline?
Rebecca Stone: Yes.
Drew Neisser: So, this would be a good time for your CEO to be listening to say, “Dude or dudette—a little more marketing dollars and we could double the pipeline.”
Rebecca Stone: Absolutely. I think what’s been amazing about it is—so in the last 18 months we have invested in a data lake, the hot new term for measurement.
Drew Neisser: Looker?
Rebecca Stone: We have built our own in-house data lake and we’re using Tableau as our visualization. We have an analyst who’s now full-time. He’s been on full-time for about six to nine months and he has built some really, really cool models for how predictable investment—a dollar of marketing investment—results in a dollar of revenue and a dollar of pipeline.
Drew Neisser: Really. Do we know how accurate is it?
Rebecca Stone: He is convinced that it’s 98 percent.
Drew Neisser: Well, he made it. Of course, he’s convinced.
Rebecca Stone: I know, I know. But he’s had a couple of external analytics people look at it and he claims it’s 98 percent. I was like, I’ll get to 80 percent and I’m fine, but he wanted to push it a little bit farther.
Drew Neisser: So just to clarify this—your analyst says that, with a very high probability, he can accurately predict dollars spent to revenue on the other side.
Rebecca Stone: Absolutely.
Drew Neisser: Game over.
Rebecca Stone: It’s sort of the Holy Grail. I think what has been really cool is—and again, this goes back to being on the cutting edge of what LiveRamp can do but also what is possible with B2B marketing and when you are very revenue and metrics-driven but also very data-driven. I will say, it’s five years consistently at a single company to be able to build up the process and the technology and the stack and the trust of everybody around us to be able to actually say something like that. You cannot do something like this in your first year. You have to have a long-term commitment to be able to do it.
Drew Neisser: And you have to know how to progress through that. When you started, was Marketo and Salesforce in place?
Rebecca Stone: Salesforce was—it was mess—but Marketo was not.
Drew Neisser: Okay, so you basically five years ago started with pretty much a blank slate and a mission to digitally transform the marketing organization.
Rebecca Stone: Absolutely. When I first started, we were getting leads on the website that weren’t even getting routed to our sales development reps. There were two at the time. There are now 20. We are getting people who were like, “I’m interested in your product.” Nobody was following up on them. That’s what a disaster it was when I first started.
Drew Neisser: Having gone through this journey now and at the point where you can actually say to the CEO and the board of directors that X dollars will give this kind of return with very high level of attribution… What would you say if you’ve got a group of CMOs listening—two dos and a don’t as you approach… Let’s first do this just on marketing automation and building out your tech stack. Two dos and a don’t on that area.
Rebecca Stone: I think my first to do is you do have to be extremely focused on process and data and you have to drive that focus from everybody in the organization. You have to understand how your data is flowing through, where are the gaps, and insist that everybody from the marketing assistant to the top salesperson is following the process to record and keep all of the data.
I think the second do is to not get too big of an appetite in what you can accomplish, because it is a very, very long journey to get to where you are. Set your sights towards a big goal that’s a ways away, but figure out the small steps that you can take to get there. I guess that’s more of a don’t—done…
Drew Neisser: Don’t try to eat the elephant in one bite.
Rebecca Stone: Yeah, exactly. And then the third thing that I would say is don’t get discouraged by the fact that nobody believes you.
Drew Neisser: “Sure, sure, sure, marketing, marketing, marketing.” Right.
Rebecca Stone: Exactly Keep at it and be able to talk in numbers and have those conversations with the finance side and with your sales organization. Be really, really rigorous to the point that they eventually get to the point that they do trust you with that information.
Drew Neisser: Right. You have to build credibility, you have to get some quick wins along the way. One of the things that we’ve had lots of conversations on the show and so forth is a lot of folks underestimate the manpower required to manage this. And I’m surprised that you can do it with three people.
Rebecca Stone: I have three very, very good people is what I would say.
Drew Neisser: They’re not first-year Marketo novices. They’ve done this for a while.
Rebecca Stone: My head of marketing ops, I worked with him at four different companies. We know each other, we trust each other, we know what we expect of each other. He understands where I’m trying to get and has done it with me before, so we’ve had lots of learnings from those things. And then we have a couple of people who have done it for a long time who really, really understand. You have to have very strong people in order to run a lean team.
Drew Neisser: And that’s the way it is. The truth is, it’s always about building the team. It really is. As a head of marketing, if you don’t have a good team, you don’t have good marketing.
Rebecca Stone: Exactly.
Drew Neisser: All right, well that’s a perfect place for us to wrap up this episode of Renegade Thinkers Unite. Thank you so much for being on the show.
Rebecca Stone: Thank you for having me. It was a pleasure
Drew Neisser: Really enjoyed it. All the listeners—as always, I appreciate—I got an e-mail from someone this morning saying, “Hey, I listened to your Brett Adamson episode, do you have lead behind for that?” I do. You can e-mail me at or you can text me and I’ll send it to you. Keep those e-mails, texts coming. And secondly, as always, until next week, keep those Renegade Thinking Caps on and strong.